According to a Barna Group study, many young adults leave church because they see so much hypocrisy and moral failure in its leaders. Of course we all know that every church has room for improvement. But in His Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew chapter 5, Jesus gives us a way to check hypocrisy in worship. He said, “if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple [in other words, you have come to worship], and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” Notice Jesus did not say if you have a fault against another, but if another has a fault with you, get it straight before you come to worship. Sadly, many people gather to worship knowing they are not reconciled with others—family, church members, or co-workers. As a result, their worship is hypocritical. They go through the motions, but their worship is not acceptable to God. Then when people see such hypocrisy, they are turned off by it. We lose their respect, and we bring shame to the name of Christ. Jesus urges us to approach worship, not for entertainment but to glimpse God’s holiness, to hear God’s Word, and depart to live clean and productive lives.
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